#9Baje9Minute Top Trend on Twitter: Youth Raise Their Voice Against Rising Unemployment

The hashtag #9Baje9Minute has been trending along with the hashtag #NoMoreBJP.

9 baje 9 minute
Courtesy: Advocate Pooja Mishra (Twitter)

Thousands of Indian citizens, on September 9, expressed their dissatisfaction with the BJP government under the hashtag #9Baje9Minute . The call for the symbolic protest, first given by former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party national president Akhilesh Yadav, was soon endorsed by various groups, political parties, and opposition leaders. The protest aimed to raise the question of rising unemployments and the failing economy, especially after the GDP contracted by 23.9%. 

The symbolic act of turning off lights for 9 minutes at 9 PM and instead lighting candles etc, was a play on earlier mobilisations of the people during lockdown by PM Modi. PM Modi had earlier given calls to bang thalis, turn off lights, and so on at specific times. This act was used as a distraction from the issues facing the country in the pandemic, including the lack of equipment and protection for frontline workers.

The hashtag #9Baje9Minute has been trending along with the hashtag #NoMoreBJP as people criticise the government for privatisation, the lack of jobs, its unsatisfactory handling of the pandemic as COVID-19 infections are on the rise, inflation in food and essential goods prices, the decision to hold NEET-JEE exams in spite of widespread opposition from students, and the spreading of propaganda by media channels.

The government has recently announced that barring 18 strategic sectors, all other sectors will be completely privatised, and the rest will have increased privatisation. This has already been opposed strongly by workers organizations and Adivasi groups, but now it is the general public, and especially the youth which is expressing its opposition as privatisation will directly impact employment and access to services for a large part of the population.

The government is willingly sacrificing the economy for the profit of a handful of industrialists, as Amit Bhaduri writes,

“Liberalization is the name of the game. Indeed it is the only game in town this government wants to continue to play by giving unstinted support to big industrialists. No matter lockdown or pandemic, it changes labor and environmental laws to help the industry. It gave them tax break in terms of foregone government revenue which is almost double the money it spends today on MGNREGA. It turns a forgiving eye to the known looters of bank money.”

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